Lawrence, Douglas County sites to safely dispose of medications, vapes Saturday

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Updated at 9:41 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25:

The public can bring unused or expired prescription medications to one of four sites this Saturday to ensure they don’t get into the wrong hands.

This year, Drug Take Back Day sites are also accepting vapes and cartridges, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas.

Drop-offs are free and anonymous. The sites will accept prescription drug tablets, capsules and patches.

According to information from Jenn Hethcoat, public information officer for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, needles and sharps will not be accepted, with the exception of unused or expired EpiPens because the needles are sheathed within the pens. Inhalers and illicit drugs will not be accepted, either, she said via email.

Hethcoat said the sheriff’s office would accept vaping products but not those with batteries in them. If the battery is not removable, Hethcoat said the city of Lawrence’s hazardous materials page — — contained information on disposal.

The national event is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration with the goal of preventing drug addiction and overdose deaths, according to the DEA’s website, It says a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family, friends and home medicine cabinets.

Proper disposal of drugs also protects the environment, the DEA site says.

Sites will operate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. Sites in Lawrence and Douglas County include:

• Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St.: Rain or shine, the site will be set up near the intersection of 11th and Rhode Island streets.

• Hy-Vee, 4000 W. Sixth St.: inside, near the pharmacy.

• Eudora Police Department, 930 Main St. in Eudora.

• Baldwin City Police Department, 811 Eighth St. in Baldwin City.

Hethcoat noted that the drop-off is for individuals — not businesses, doctor’s offices, pharmacies or the like. She said it was confidential — “we do not look through/at the medications that come in,” she said via email. “(T)hey go directly into the collection boxes.”

Julie Faust, marketing coordinator for Watkins Health Center at the University of Kansas, reached out to the Journal-World Friday to clarify that the center is not holding a special drop-off event Saturday. However, the general public may bring unused medications to the center’s drop-off site at 1200 Schwegler Drive anytime during regular business hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays when classes are in session.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

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